Exploring the Perspectives of Preschool Teachers on Implementing Structured Motor Programs in Inclusive Classrooms

W. Catherine Cheung, Michaelene M. Ostrosky, Paddy C. Favazza, Melissa Stalega, Hsiu Wen Yang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Children with disabilities (CWD) tend to participate in fewer physical activities than typically developing children. During motor play, CWD often depend on teachers to provide direct instruction and frequent opportunities to practice motor skills, to interact with their peers, and learn new skills. To promote participation in physical activities for CWD, it is necessary to understand (a) teachers’ perceptions about the importance of structured motor programs and (b) teachers’ thoughts and concerns about implementing structured motor programs. The aim of this study was to understand teachers’ perceptions about structured motor programs (e.g., obstacle course, bowling) and factors that may influence their motivation to implement them. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with 17 teachers who taught in inclusive preschools. Interview data were transcribed and analyzed to identify key themes. The results show that the majority of participants valued structured motor programs and were aware of the benefits of implementing such programs with preschoolers. Several teachers expressed concerns about meeting the expectations of a motor program and preschoolers’ challenging behaviors during such programs. Implications for practice from this study include the need to (a) provide professional development to help teachers support preschoolers with disabilities in learning motor skills and understanding how to arrange and scaffold opportunities for children to participate in physical activities and gross motor play with their typically developing peers, and (b) create quality structured motor programs to ensure that all children have access to motor learning opportunities in inclusive preschool settings.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)361-370
Number of pages10
JournalEarly Childhood Education Journal
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2023


  • Disabilities
  • Perceptions
  • Physical activity
  • Preschoolers
  • Structured motor programs
  • Teacher

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology


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